A Ross Internship Goes Out of This World
Outer space has always fascinated Simon Halpern. And a summer internship at a California startup allowed this Ross MBA student to live out a dream, as he helped prepare small, 2-pound satellites to be launched from the International Space Station this Tuesday.
Describing himself as “a kid who’s never fully grown out of the ‘I want to be an astronaut’ phase,” Halpern has a background in aerospace engineering. Last year, he saw an article about a new San Francisco-based company called NanoSatisfi, which offers “affordable access to space.” Anyone can buy timed access to the company’s open-source satellites – and it also offers some free access to schools – to run their own programs or experiments in space.
At NanoSatisfi, which was a finalist for the Wall Street Journal’s Startup of the Year, Halpern’s primary role was in business development. The company wanted to find a business case for data that’s only available from space – things like tracking ships and airplanes over the ocean, weather, and so on. But NanoSatisfi’s small size – 12 employees plus three interns – also let Halpern get involved in lot of other aspects of the business, including product development, social-media outreach and even designing a mission patch.
And then there was that particular thrill from “getting to have my hands on actual hardware that’s going to space.” NanoSatisfi’s first two satellites, called Ardusat-1 and Ardusat-X, are expected to be released from the International Space Station by a robot arm Nov. 19.
Halpern isn’t sure what he’ll do after graduating from Ross next spring, but it will involve something in the world of “new space” startups. In the meantime, he’s working with a team on North Campus on a new thruster for small satellites, with a Kickstarter campaign launching Nov 25.// <![CDATA[ // <![CDATA[ <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>CubeSats deployed at 12:18 UTC. PicoDragon, ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X are on their way. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ISS&amp;src=hash">#ISS</a> <a href="http://t.co/t7rXMuiuyl">pic.twitter.com/t7rXMuiuyl</a></p> — ISS Updates (@ISS101) <a href="https://twitter.com/ISS101/statuses/402773267024330752">November 19, 2013</a></blockquote> > >